The Twin Mom Survival Guide: The First Six Months
Seven survival skills from a twin mom to help adjust to life with two.
It gets better. When I was pregnant, the twin moms I know indoctrinated me into their club by informing me of the twin mantra I would be repeating to myself every day for the first few months. I had no idea what they were talking about because I was happily decorating the nursery, buying adorable baby clothes and going on organizational rampages through the house (the tape on my label maker had to be replaced several times). My biggest concern was if my newly formed cankles would ever go away. Then my husband and I brought little Theo and Gemma home from the hospital, and I called all my twin mom friends and made them remind me of the mantra every day. Because those first few months were crazypants.
Now my babies are six months old and I wanted to share a few things that helped me adapt to my new situation. The last time I had to adapt to a new life this quickly was when I arrived at USC my freshman year from my small town in Virginia. Unfortunately frat parties and jungle juice were not going to get me through twin parenting.
Survival Skill #1: When your babies are both crying at the same time, force yourself to laugh at how ridiculous the situation is as you go back and forth soothing them. Because this will happen and it sucks. The good news is, for me and most of my twin mom friends, you usually have one mellow baby and one feisty baby. This will cut down on the dual meltdowns, although in my case, we had a Freaky Friday situation and the mellow and feisty one switched places around month three. That was slightly confusing, but hey, we were happy one was still mellow.
Survival Skill #2: Invest in two swings. You don’t need two activity mats, you don’t need two Sophie the Giraffes and you definitely don’t need those twenty Aden and Anais swaddle blankets you panicked and registered for at the last minute. But two swings are the gift that keeps on giving. My babies fell asleep in them when they were under three months and now that they’re six months, they immediately relax and play with the mobile part while they’re swinging. Two days ago they were both upset from teething and I put them in the swings with their teether toys and they were smiling within two minutes.
Survival Skill #3: Don’t hang out with singleton moms for at least a month after you give birth. Being a mom is exhausting and challenging for everyone and I’m not taking any part of that away from singleton moms. But for that first month, it’s tough to hear them talk about how hard it is with one baby. That being said, I imagine a mom of triplets would think I’m a complete wuss. But take my advice on this one because in your exhausted state, you don’t want to say something to one of your friends you’ll regret later once you’ve gotten more than two hours of sleep and your filter is back intact.
Survival Skill #4: Do your dark circles a favor and blend YSL Touche Eclat with Benefit Erase Paste all over those swollen bad boys. First put on the Touche Eclat, then the Erase Paste. The combo is unbeatable and I at least looked fifty percent less exhausted than I felt when I finally left the house for my first big grocery store outing.
Survival Skill #5: If someone asks you if they can help, SAY YES! Even if you don’t have a job for them at that exact moment, say yes because you will. Twins are an all hands on deck situation those first few months. I don’t care if this person is a satellite friend you barely know, they said they want to help, so let them!
Survival Skill #6: Learn the art of the double bottle feed (and make sure your husband, boyfriend, partner, etc. does too!). First, you need two of these rocker chairs (obviously there are many options, but I found these to be the best). Then bib up your babies, take a seat in front of them and feed them both at the same time. When you need to burp one baby and the other one is screaming because they want to continue eating, you can prop their bottle up with a few blankets. And like everything else with twins, this gets sooooo much easier as they get older.
Survival Skill #7: Repeat the twin mantra whenever you’re feeling yourself downward spiral. IT GETS BETTER. The first time your babies smile at each other is the coolest thing ever and nothing compares to that moment. Oh, and the other piece of good news – those cankles totally go away.
Alyssa Embree Schwartz is a screenwriter and author based in Washington D.C. Her latest YA book series, Georgetown Academy, is out now.